MLB to add extra Wild Card team to each league with realignment
The Rays have always found themselves in a difficult position of trying to make the playoffs while in the same division as the Red Sox and Yankees and their mammoth payrolls.
But with MLB's plan to expand their playoffs, it could be a big boost to Tampa Bay.
Commissioner Bud Selig announced Thursday plans to add a wild card team to each league. Selig said he hopes to begin expanded playoffs next season, but it could be put off until 2013. That's when the Astros will be moved to the American League, making two 15-team leagues, and leading to interleague play from day one.
But the big news is adding another playoff team to each league. The Rays have made the postseason in three of the past four years, but it took until the season's final day - and a historic September comeback - for them to overcome the Red Sox for the Wild Card. While Selig didn't reportedly offer specifics on the playoff format or schedule, his committee favors the one-game playoff among wild-card teams in each league, according to USA Today.
"With the fact of how competitive our division is, I like the fact that we add another element to it," Rays hitting coach Derek Shelton said. "It should make October even more interesting."
Said executive VP Andrew Friedman: "We are in favor of any change that might help improve competitive balance and this at lesate does something to further that."
-- JOE SMITH